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Trafficking Statistics Project

As part of its mandate to strengthen research, UNESCO is conducting a literature review and meta-analysis of existing statements on trafficking. UNESCO is tracing the origin of numbers cited by various sources, attempting to ascertain the methodology by which these numbers were calculated, and evaluating their validity. The aim is to clarify the bases on which estimates of the numbers of trafficked persons are derived, and to separate trafficking myths from trafficking realities.


When it comes to statistics, trafficking of girls and women is one of several highly emotive issues which seem to overwhelm critical faculties. Numbers take on a life of their own, gaining acceptance through repetition, often with little inquiry into their derivations. Journalists, bowing to the pressures of editors, demand numbers, any number. Organizations feel compelled to supply them, lending false precisions and spurious authority to many reports.

The UNESCO TRAFFICKING STATISTICS PROJECT is a first step toward clarifying what we know, what we think we know, and what we don't know about trafficking.


As the statistics contained in this database originate from various sources, they may sometimes lack scientific accuracy or even be in contradiction with other data. Consequently, UNESCO is clearly not responsible for the content of the information displayed in this database.

Search the database.

View updated graphs (as of 2011) on Trafficking Industry, Forced Labour, and Price per Person Statistics, among others.

View thematic data comparison sheets.

A bibliography of the publications quoted in the database is regularly updated.


We encourage agencies and individuals to provide updates and commentaries in their areas of expertise: trafficking@unescobkk.org